Memories of Autumns Past

Fall is finally here! Fall has always been my favorite season. I love winter because of Christmas, I love spring because it signals the end of freezing cold weather, and I love summer because, if you know anything about me, you know how much I adore swimming. Fall reigns supreme, though. I love the temperature and how the leaves change colors. All year, I look forward to that first day when you walk outside and everything is painted in shades of gold, and it’s just cold enough that you need go back inside for a light sweater. It actually felt like fall this morning, which was a stark contrast from the usual sweltering heat. Knowing Tennessee weather, it’ll probably be back in the 90’s by next week, but I still got so much happiness from walking outside and not feeling like I’d walked into a sauna.

Fall is also a really hard season for me, though. My life has been full of ups and downs in my mental and physical health, and both good and bad milestones have occurred during every season. Some of the really, really nasty moments, though, have happened during the fall. The moments where everything fell apart. Where things would go downhill, and get worse and worse without improvement for years.

When the antidepressant I had been on for two years suddenly stopped working, it was fall. That fall was the first time my depression was truly overwhelming and debilitating and overpowering.

When I first realized that my body was no longer responding to any antidepressants, it was fall. My mental health was getting worse, and so was my physical health as my body experienced all the possible side effects of the medicines I tried.

When my psychiatrist sent me away, with nowhere to go, because she had exhausted all routes and didn’t know what else to do, it was fall.

I don’t remember the first time I truly didn’t want to be alive anymore. I do know that the feeling lasted for years, and I know it started in earnest one fall.

The fall of my freshman year, I was so sick that I had to attend an online school. It was a stark contrast from how I’d been attending school and how I’d imagined my freshman year would be.

It was fall when I first started treatment for my endometriosis and started a new antidepressant. My body rebelled. I’ve told part of the story here before, and it’s still so painful to talk about. It’s painful to think about, and I think about it every single day. I lost a dangerous amount of weight, and no matter what I did, it continued dropping. I spent almost two years fighting to gain back the weight. Two excruciatingly painful years that still haunt me.

It was fall when the trauma of my 14 week hospitalization finally got to me. It’s still not something I can bring myself to write about in detail. I’ve tried, and I’m just not there yet.

Fall has also been a season of beautiful things, though. I have so many wonderful memories of visiting pumpkin patches with my family, playing outside with my brother, and being curled up outside with a book for hours. I remember so many Halloween parties at school and nights of trick-or-treating. I’ve finished the first draft of every book I’ve written in the fall. Last fall, when I started at my new school, was one of the best. It was the first time I truly loved school. Of course, my health was still a struggle, but I was able to go to school and hang out with friends and feel like an actual teenager.

So far, this fall has been difficult. Really difficult. My mental and physical health have been poor. My stomach pain has been worse than I could ever describe, and it’s made my mental health plummet. I’m dealing with a lot of loneliness. And as terrifying as it is to put the words in writing, my weight has dropped since I was weight restored in the summer of 2017. It feels like no matter how hard I try, no matter what I do, no matter how hard I work, I can never get where I want to be. I don’t even have any grand ideas of total healing and a life of wellness. I just want to be okay. I just want to feel stable. But no matter what I do, I am either just alright or on the edge of something awful. That’s as good as it seems to get.

And yet, I still have hope. To think of the hope I now have in contrast to the complete absence of it not long ago is enough to bring me to tears. It’s a story I love to share and am excited to write about one day. It’s a praise to Jesus for sustaining me through the darkest times. It’s thankfulness that even when everything is horrible, I never have to walk through it alone. One of the things I struggle with is that no matter how carefully I choose my words, I can never fully articulate my experiences to someone else. He knows, though. He knows every detail of my life exactly as I’ve experienced it. It’s the faith that God will strengthen me and give me everything I need, because I am not strong enough to get through this life I’ve been chosen to live on my own. It’s the excitement I have for the future even in the face of a bleak present. It’s the thrill I get every day when I think and pray about my future husband. It’s the joy I get when I think of being a mom one day. It’s how excited I am to have a career I love.

Right now, I’m eagerly (and a bit impatiently) waiting to see if I got into my dream college. I am so excited to hopefully be a bison and get to start the next half of my college career next fall. I’m extra excited, though, for what that acceptance letter symbolizes. It’s the start of the future. It’s the first page of a new chapter. The beginning of a college career, adulthood (although college might be better classified as junior adulthood. An adulthood apprenticeship? Adulthood Jr.?), and whenever the Lord sees fit, marriage and a family. It’s the start of all these things I didn’t think I would got to a few years ago. Things I didn’t want to live to see. And now, I’m so hopeful for them.

Hopefully, this fall, I will receive my acceptance letter, and it will be the start to all of that. Even though this fall is off to a rough start, I have hope it can turn into one I remember for all the blessings I receive and milestones I reach.